Alcohol and drug addiction services in Dundee “responded well” to the coronavirus crisis, according to the Tayside Alcohol and Drug Partnership.
Simon Little, independent chair of the partnership, said although there were still issues of “significant concern”, support services had achieved a great deal during lockdown.
He said: “There has been a well-organised response, which has resulted in services continuing their engagement with those at highest risk – effective protective measures being put in place and alternative means of contact and support being provided.
“Since November there has been a coordinated effort to respond rapidly and effectively to non-fatal overdoses.
“Those who have had a non-fatal overdose are at higher risk of a fatal overdose.
“So it is very valuable that, throughout the current crisis, that work has continued.”
People are also now able to refer themselves to the Integrated Substance Misuse Service (ISMS).
Mr Little continued: “The ISMS has adapted its access to support social distancing so people can refer themselves by phone instead of dropping into direct access clinics.
“The service continues to take all referrals for drugs and alcohol, and offers rapid access to services.
“Assessments have been conducted in innovative ways – including telephone and video appointments, brief drug screening appointments, and ‘same day prescribing’ has been maintained.
“To support social distancing, ISMS community alcohol detoxes are now being delivered through assertive outreach to people at home.”
On top of that the number of people getting opiate replacement therapy from pharmacies has been reduced and takeaway doses have also been reduced where it is safe to do so.
Tayside Council on Alcohol has also started its Safe Zone bus once again to run outreach services.
Safe Zone can now be accessed in Lochee on a Saturday from 7pm until 9.30pm, with plans to extend this to two further areas.
NHS Tayside has also been testing residents of homeless hostels for possible Covid-19 symptoms to help monitor the spread of the deadly virus.
Mr Little continued: “I’ve been very impressed by the level of joint working across organisations.
“All across the board people have mucked in to help each other out.
“This has allowed essential services to continue operating.
“The cooperation and innovation demonstrated bodes well for the future, as we turn our thinking to safely charting a course out of lockdown.”